“I Thought I Went Blind.” Darya Domracheva’s Brother Recalls His Detention

During the brutal crackdown of demonstrators on Sunday, 11 October, *Darya Domracheva’s brother Nikita was beaten and detained. Later he told TUT.BY the details of the incident, and also confirmed that the moment of his arrest was caught on video.

Yesterday I was riding a bicycle on a bike path along the river near Zybitskaya Street to my mother. When I reached the bridge, I saw people in olive uniform running at me screaming. I got scared, turned the other way, but another group of security forces in black ran out of there, from around the corner of the building.

They just knocked me off the bike and, without explaining anything, started beating me. I saw stars, I was bleeding from my head. I was scared for my bike, I have had it for 10 years and it is very dear to me, I tried to break free to save it. But they threw me into a minibus. There they threatened me, hit me with a truncheon.

Because of the blows and blood on my face I couldn’t see anything. At some point, I thought I went blind and asked to call an ambulance. However, I was told that they would not call it, the doctor would see me at the police station. Besides, my hands were handcuffed, they got numb, when I asked security forces to weaken them they only laughed and insulted me.

They went through my personal belongings, my wallet, but there were no symbols or anything. After some time, they threw me in another car and drove me around the city for about an hour, but they gave me a bandage to stop the bleeding. I was taken to the police station with a group of other detainees. I had no shoes on, I lost them during the arrest.

There they wrote down my passport data, photographed me, no one took my statement. Then the ambulance arrived. At the same moment, they brought a ready-made report with the testimonies of the officers, but they didn’t let me to read it, saying that it contained personal data of the security forces.

The report stated that I participated in an unauthorised mass event. I felt very bad, had a bad headache, so I did not resist and signed it. The trial will be held in the court of the Frunzensky district of Minsk, I don’t know the date. The ambulance took me to the 3rd hospital, where after several hours of sitting in a queue they put me in a ward. In the morning I signed myself out against medical advice and went home.

Did you tell the security forces who you are? Who is your sister?


What about the bike?

I asked my wife to look for it at the place where I was detained, but it was no longer there. I am worried about its fate. [The bike had already been found – BelarusFeed note.]

Have you already spoken to Dasha?

Not yet, but she knows what happened to me, she talked to our mother.

*Darya Domracheva is a retired Belarusian biathlete and coach who competed in the Biathlon World Cup from 2006 to 2018. She won a gold medal in the 4×6 km relay and a silver medal in the mass start competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics, three gold medals in the pursuit, individual, and mass start competitions at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and a bronze medal in the individual competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She was a Biathlon World Cup overall winner for the 2014–15 season. In 2014 Domracheva was given the Hero of Belarus medal, after winning three gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Reacting to her brother’s brutal detention and the situation in Belarus, Darya shared a post on her Facebook page.

“Doing something, taking some steps, it is important to understand the results. I absolutely understand that my public anger will not solve public problems. Perhaps this will help to assert oneself in the eyes of other speakers, to get someone’s approval, perhaps it will be a relief, but it will definitely not help to achieve the goal.

We all see that there are problems in the country, it is pointless to waste your breath with aggressive words on the one hand and, on the other hand, there is definitely no sense in firing, arresting and bludgeoning people on the streets. It does not matter who happened to be at hot spots or went there intentionally, whether its your loved ones or somebody else’s – we are all the same. While it is obvious that such actions only further enrage opposites, exacerbate and aggravate the situation.

At the moment, I still do not see my step, which can really help to solve problems in the country. But on the part of public authorities, in order to settle the situation and solve the problems of people, there should be more interesting ideas than ‘topple/arrest/fire. We do not live in a primitive age. People want to be heard. Everyone needs to calm down and discuss everything, perhaps this will bring them closer to their cherished goal – a fair, peaceful, calm, beautiful, developing country. We all have the same goal, haven’t we?”

Source: TUT.BY